A basket full of canceled bank checks and a cloth Red Cross worker's patch are the most important exhibits in the Belhaven Memorial Museum. Why these seemingly insignificant items? It is due to their connection with Eva Blount Way and the original rationale behind opening her private collection of curiosities to the public.

When Edmund Harding, the "jolly joker" of Beaufort County, came to visit Mrs. Way at her home in 1940, he was amazed at the items which she had accumulated in her home. He was so impressed that he suggested that she open her collection to the public, offering to move her to Washington and set it up in a rented room, where the population would have more ready access to it, and charge admission to them.

She liked the idea in principle, but preferred to keep it at her home. Also, rather than running her museum as a money-making enterprise for herself, she proposed that "if it is worth a dime or a dollar to go through my museum, I will open it up to the public for the benefit of the Red Cross." For, you see, her oldest son, a veteran of the First World War, had written to her from overseas, imploring her to assist the Red Cross in any way that she found herself able to do. And so it was that a little old lady from a small county in an unassuming state began a twenty-year service to the country which had given her so much and to which she gave much in return.

The eleventh hour of November 11th marks the anniversary of the end of the "War to End All Wars" in 1918. Originally "Armistice Day," "Veteran's Day" commemorates the sacrifices of those who have served our country in the armed forces and the American Red Cross. This November 11th, why not come by the museum and remember what one little old lady did to remember them.

Belhaven Treasure #27

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Diane K. Mason, HTML Editor 1998